|Name:||Carlos Salinas de Gortari|
|Birth Day:||April 3, 1948|
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He earned his PhD from Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
A tragedy occurred early in Carlos Salinas's life. On 18 December 1951, when he was three years old, he was playing with his older brother Raúl, then five, and an eight-year-old friend when they found a loaded rifle, and one of them shot and killed the Salinas family's twelve-year-old maid, Manuela. It was never determined which of the three boys pulled the trigger, and the incident was declared an accident; it was given newspaper coverage in Excélsior and La Prensa at the time. A judge blamed the Salinas parents for leaving a loaded weapon accessible to their small children. The Salinas family did not know the last name of their 12-year-old maid Manuela—only that she came from San Pedro Atzcapotzaltongo—and it is unknown whether her family ever claimed her body. They were also exonerated with the assistance of Gilberto Bolaños Cacho, maternal uncle of legendary Mexican comedian Chespirito, who is also nephew to Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, who became president of Mexico in 1964. He has not commented publicly on this tragic early childhood incident.
Salinas met his future first wife, Cecilia Yolanda Occelli González, in 1958 when he was just ten years old. They began dating in 1965 when he was 17-years old and she was 16-years old. However, the relationship ended in 1968 when Salinas moved to the United States to study economics.
Salinas attended the National Autonomous University of Mexico as an undergraduate, studying economics. He was an undergraduate when the student movement in Mexico organized against the 1968 Summer Olympics, but there is no evidence of his participation. He was an active member of the PRI youth movement and a political club, the Revolutionary Policy and Professional Association, whose members continued to be his close friends when he was president. Salinas was a skilled dressage horseman, and was a member of the Mexico national team at the Pan-American Games in Cali, Colombia, in 1971.
In 1971, Salinas and Occelli reconnected in Williamsburg, Virginia, in the United States. They were engaged soon and married on April 15, 1972, in a ceremony in Mexico City. They moved to Boston, where Salinas was completing his master's and doctorate at Harvard University. The couple discovered that Occelli was pregnant with their first child during Salinas' first semester at Harvard. Their oldest daughter, Cecilia, was born on January 22, 1974. Occelli and Salinas had two more children: Emiliano, who was born on February 19, 1976, and Juan Cristobal, who was born in 1979.
Salinas was one of the Mexicans of his generation who studied at elite foreign universities. He earned a master's degree in Public Administration from Harvard University in 1973 and went on to earn a PhD from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 1978. His doctoral dissertation was published as Political Participation, Public Investment and Support for the System: A Comparative Study of Rural Communities in Mexico.
Salinas was tapped by President Miguel de la Madrid to serve as Minister of Planning and Budget in 1982, a position that De la Madrid himself had previously held. It was a key cabinet position since Mexico was in dire financial circumstances following the presidency of José López Portillo, who as a desperate measure had nationalized the banks in Mexico and expropriated dollar-denominated savings accounts. The country held no hard currency reserves, exhaustion of foreign credit, and soaring interest rates. the Ministries of Finance and Planning and Budget became the most powerful positions to deal with the economic crisis. In the cabinet, Salinas's main rival was Jesús Silva Herzog, Minister of Finance. In the internecine politics that would decide who would succeed De la Madrid as president, Salinas sought to destroy the reputation of Silva Herzog. Another key figure in the cabinet was Manuel Bartlett, Minister of the Interior, with whom Salinas forged a non-compete alliance. Salinas also forged other alliances within the circles of power and did not directly compete with De la Madrid for public attention. Silva Herzog made missteps in his ministry, which Salinas capitalized on, forcing his resignation.
Salinas married his second wife, Ana Paula Gerard Rivero, shortly after his divorce from Occelli. It is believed that Salinas originally met Gerard in 1983 at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, where he was teaching at the time, though that story remains unconfirmed. Gerard later worked as a technical secretary for the Economic Cabinet of the Salinas administration. The couple had three children. Gerard gave birth to their eldest daughter, Ana Emilia Margarita, in January 1996. Patricio Gerónimo Gerardo was born 1998, while their youngest son, Mateo, was born in 2006.
Salinas assumed the presidency on 1 December 1988 at the Legislative Palace of San Lázaro. There he took oath before the Congress of the Union. As the declared winner of a highly contested election, he had the task of restoring his own legitimacy and that of his party when he took office. The election had shown that much of the public desired reform, but Salinas appointed PRI hard-liners ("dinosaurs") to his cabinet, including Fernando Gutiérrez Barrios to the Ministry of the Interior; Manuel Bartlett to the Ministry of Education; and Carlos Hank González to Agriculture. The cabinet was cohesive in support of Salinas's neoliberal policies. Many ministers were technocrats with graduate academic degrees, a profile similar to Salinas's. Although there was opposition to many of Salinas's policies, it came from outside the cabinet. Over the course of his presidency, he moved or replaced a number of cabinet ministers. A key replacement in January 1994 immediately after the Chiapas conflict was at the Ministry of the Interior (Gobernación), appointing Jorge Carpizo, who had been head of the government National Human Rights Commission and previously was rector of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. When the PRI candidate in the 1994 elections, Luis Donaldo Colosio was assassinated in March 1994, new restrictions barring cabinet ministers who had not resigned in the six months previous to the election date from being candidates for the presidency meant that Salinas had a small pool of eligible choices.
In his inaugural address in December 1988, he outlined an ambitious and important goal of "modernizing" Mexico." He contended that "The modernization of Mexico is essential if we are to meet the demands of the 85 million Mexicans of today.... In brief, we need to modernize politics, the economy, and society. The modernization of Mexico is, moreover, an absolute imperative. This is the only way we will be able to affirm our sovereignty in a world undergoing profound transformation."
The Catholic Church and the Mexican government has had a historically fraught relationship, with restrictions on the church's role in national life. In the 1980s, the church saw electoral participation reform and fighting electoral fraud as an issue. Sometime during the presidential campaign, the PRI had indicated to the Church that a Salinas victory would be beneficial to the Church. It has been considered a quid pro quo agreement. A delegation of the leadership of the episcopal hierarchy attended the inauguration of Salinas on December 1, 1988. After the 1988 election the Mexican bishops did not make public statements about the election results. Behind the scenes the apostolic delegate to Mexico, the Vatican's representative, Mexican bishops, and government officials had a series of secret meetings that hammered out the outlines of a new Church-State relationship. In his inaugural address, Salinas de Gortari announced a program to "modernize" Mexico via structural transformation. "The modern state is a state which ... maintains transparency and updates its relation with political parties, entrepreneurial groups, and the church." His declaration was more an articulation of the direction of change, but not list of specifics.
His National Development Plan (Plan Nacional de Desarrollo) published in 1989 had 4 objectives:
An issue of importance both domestic and foreign policy is drug trafficking. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Mexico was a transit country for cocaine produced in Colombia and destined for consumers in the United States. President De la Madrid considered drug trafficking a national security issue and devoted government funding to it. Salinas expanded this funding, but neither president stemmed the growth of trafficking and its impact on Mexico. Drug trafficking is highly lucrative for those involved with it, and Mexico's weak law enforcement and judicial system could not prevent the wide-scale involvement of Mexico's poorly-paid police from being corrupted. The Mexican military to a lesser extent was corrupted, along with politicians, and some journalists. Such corruption undermined the possibility of rule of law and it prevented Mexicans from having trust in the state. A rising level of violence by drug traffickers against the state, witnesses, journalists, and bystanders. The Mexican government did capture and jail some high-level drug mafia leaders, including Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo in 1989, whose arrest made visible the extent of law enforcement collusion.
In the wake of the highly controversial 1988 election results, the government initiated a series of electoral reforms. A major change was the creation of the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) in October 1990, taking elections out of the hands of the Ministry of the Interior to create an independent entity.
In 1990, the National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos) was created. Initially a government agency, it became a separate entity,
Salinas negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with the United States and Canada. Salinas also renegotiated Mexico's foreign debt. In 1990, Salinas had traveled to Europe to attract non-North American capital investment, but dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Soviet bloc opened them to foreign investment; Mexico was less attractive to them and Salinas turned to North America. Critics say that NAFTA has had mixed results for Mexico: while there has been huge increase in commerce and foreign investment, this has not been at all the case for employment and salaries.
Salinas in 1991 visited United States to help convince the Illinois Governor, James R. Thompson to pardon four Mexican citizens from a quadruple murder known as the Milwaukee Ave Massacre, that took place in 1981 in Chicago, Illinois. With the help of Carlos Salinas de Gortari the four men, Joaquin Varela, Rogelio Arroyo, Ignacio Varela, and Isauro Sanchez, had their sentences commuted, later pardoned by Governor Jim Edgar.
In 1992, Salinas and his Secretary of Education, Ernesto Zedillo introduced new compulsory history texts in Mexican schools, part of the Mexican Free-Textbook Program. Authored by Enrique Florescano and Héctor Aguilar Camín, the new textbooks set off a storm of controversy. Shifts in emphasis concerned the Porfiriato and the role of foreign investment, Emiliano Zapata, lauding him as a hero despite his having opposed every government in power; U.S.-Mexico relations, avoiding negative treatment of the history; and the Catholic Church in Mexico, treating it dispassionately. The government was compelled to withdraw them in January 1993. According to one assessment, "While the 1992 textbook controversy disclosed new support for the regime from the right, it also revealed an erosion of support and discipline within officialdom."
In 1992, Mexico hosted the Chapultepec Peace Accords, a venue where the parties in the civil war in El Salvador signed an accord ending the long conflict.
Salinas established the National Solidarity Program (PRONASOL), a social welfare program, as a way to directly aid poor Mexicans, but also create a network of support for Salinas. It was his first official act as president. The program channeled public funds, which the administration said came largely from privatization of state-owned companies, into impoverished areas to improve roads, the electrical grid, schools, and clinics in order to raise levels of education and health and link remote areas, with lack of oversight in its spending. The program was similar to those in other countries to manage the disruption and political costs of macroeconomic adjustment. Salinas's Harvard doctoral dissertation had examined the relationship between social programs and political support for the government. Given the Salinas's questionable legitimacy as the winner of the 1988 election, PRONASOL was seen as a way for Salinas to deliver immediate benefits to the poor and avert their turning to other political parties or worse. It did not prioritize funding for Mexico's poorest states, but rather to states with middle-income populations where elections were most contested and where the PRI had lost. Politically, the program sought to undermine the appeal of leftists, especially Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas. In Chiapas, PRONASOL channeled increased funds in 1993 and 1994, but it did not prevent the Zapatista uprising, which showed that the program had only a limited impact.
The "unveiling" of the PRI candidate for the presidency was on 28 November 1993, with Salinas choosing Luis Donaldo Colosio. Those considered for the position were Manuel Camacho and Colosio, with earlier contenders, such as Jesús Silva Herzog and Pedro Aspe being eliminated. Aspe, a graduate of MIT had a high international profile, but was considered unlikely to actually attract voters. The changed circumstances of the Mexican political system, as demonstrated by Salinas's own election to the presidency, meant that being designated the PRI did not guarantee election. Aspe was not a charismatic prospect as a candidate who could energize and charm voters. With the potential that Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas was likely to run again for the presidency, the PRI needed to field someone who could garner votes.
By the end of his term, inflation had been reduced to 7% in 1994, the lowest figure in 22 years. Shortly after leaving office, due to the so-called December Mistake, inflation rose again to 51%.
The 1994 elections were the first to have international observers, and were considered, at that time, the fairest elections in the century, although not free of controversy. For the first time, the PRI lost its two-thirds majority in Congress, which is necessary to conduct constitutional reforms.
The centerpiece of Salinas's presidency was his successful negotiation with the U.S. and Canada to create the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which came into effect on 1 January 1994. The agreement was a reversal of Mexico's longstanding policies of economic nationalism and anti-Americanism and was intended to create a single market. Mexican proponents of NAFTA saw it in a way to secure markets for its exports and attract foreign investment, and create jobs, help the government to be able to service its foreign debt, and overall, promote economic recovery. In Mexico, the reversal was controversial, opposed by organized labor, many academics, and nongovernmental organizations.
As the 1994 presidential election approached, Salinas had the crucial decision to designate the candidate for the PRI; that person had always gone on to win the presidential election. "The shipwreck of the 1988 succession should have sufficed to teach Salinas to prevent another disaster from befalling the system he had inherited." At the time Salinas made the choice, popularity and credibility was high over the course of his presidency, but a series of events in the final year of his presidency changed that.
The uprising in Chiapas on 1 January 1994 coincided with the date that the NAFTA came into effect. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) issued their first declaration from the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico. Salinas's immediate response was to find for a peaceful solution: offering pardon to deposed arms; ordering a cease fire; appointing a peace negotiator, and sending Mexican Congress a General Amnesty Law. Salinas's presidential successor took a harder line when he was inaugurated. But Salinas's more peaceful solution Zapatista uprising was legal and politically pragmatic, likely saving many lives in Mexico. The Zapatista rebellion did not spread regionally or nationwide, but the fact that it happened and that international attention was drawn to this poor region of Mexico just as NAFTA was implemented meant that Salinas's careful plans for a peaceful political transition with his legacy intact were obliterated. Salinas appointed Manuel Camacho, Minister of Foreign Affairs, as the government's peace mediator. For Salinas, this had political benefits, since Camacho, having been passed over as the PRI presidential candidate, could have bolted from the party. With this important appointment, he was in the public limelight again.
A spectacular political event of 1994 was the assassination of Salinas's handpicked PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio in March 1994, upending the already complex electoral situation with elections scheduled for August 1994. The Zapatista uprising had ruined Salinas's plans for a peaceful transition of Mexico in the elections. There is evidence that Salinas and Colosio began to disagree, not unusual after the electoral transfer, but this occurred prior to it. His campaign languished with lack of funding, Colosio had problems getting media coverage, given the high-profile events in Chiapas. Salinas prevented Colosio from going to Chiapas, while the explanation that his presence there would complicate the situation. Increasingly there was the impression that Salinas would reverse his decision for Colosio, substituting someone else, perhaps Manuel Camacho. Camacho was a politically savvy former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Head of Government of Mexico City as well as Peace Commissioner in Chiapas. Salinas made a public statement on 17 January 1994, affirming his choice as candidate, but this was at the insistence of Colosio. Salinas extracted a pledge from Camacho that he had no designs on the presidency, which he renounced the day before Colosio's assassination in Tijuana 23 March 1994. After a few days of weighing his options, Salinas chose Colosio's campaign manager, Ernesto Zedillo, former Minister of Education, as the new PRI candidate for the presidency. Zedillo had been Secretary of Education, a relatively unimportant ministry; he had resigned to run the campaign of Colosio. Zedillo had never held elective office, sharing that trait with De la Madrid and Salinas, but Zedillo was not otherwise experienced politically. He was perceived as a weak candidate. There are speculation that Salinas wished to perpetuate his power as Plutarco Elías Calles had in the wake of the 1928 assassination of president-elect Alvaro Obregón, controlling successor presidents.
Following the election in September 1994, Secretary General of the PRI José Francisco Ruiz Massieu, Salinas' former brother-in-law, was assassinated in downtown Mexico City in broad daylight. The murder was not solved during Salinas's presidency, even when Mario Ruiz Massieu (Francisco's brother) was the attorney general and in charge of the investigation.
The economic bubble gave Mexico a prosperity not seen in a generation. This period of rapid growth coupled with low inflation prompted some political thinkers and the media to state that Mexico was on the verge of becoming a "First World nation". In fact, it was the first of the "newly industrialized nations" to be admitted into the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in May 1994. It was known that the peso was overvalued, but the extent of the Mexican economy's vulnerability was either not well known or downplayed by both the Salinas administration and the media. This vulnerability was further aggravated by several unexpected events and macroeconomic mistakes made in the last year of his administration.
Cecilia Occelli González served as First Lady of Mexico from 1988 to 1994 during the Salinas presidency. Soon after leaving office, Salinas traveled to New York City to take a break from Mexican politics. He returned to Mexico from the United States in 1995, where he immediately asked his wife for a divorce. The couple divorced later in 1995.
Initially the Zedillo administration followed Salinas's policies regarding the negotiations with the Zapatistas, pledging to reach a peaceful resolution to the Chiapas crisis. Zedillo then reversed course and on February 9, 1995, identifying Subcomandante Marcos to be Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente, and pursued military intervention. He abandoned that unsuccessful strategy and peace talks were subsequently re-established. Zedillo's zigzag policies in Chiapas were consistent with some others of his administration.
Ernesto Zedillo had been an accidental presidential candidate who had no political experience or independent base of power. There was a perception that Salinas wanted to follow the precedent of Plutarco Elías Calles who wielded tremendous power over three successor presidents following the 1928 assassination of president-elect Alvaro Obregón. However, this changed when by order of president Zedillo Salinas's older brother Raúl Salinas was arrested on 28 February 1995 under charges of orchestrating the assassination of Ruiz Massieu; the arrest dramatically shifted the political situation. Since 1940 when president Lázaro Cárdenas left the presidency and turned power over to his successor, Mexican former presidents had not directly intervened in politics. After the arrest of his brother, Salinas went on television, expressing his outrage at Zedillo. In the broadcast he placed the blame for the December peso crisis on Zedillo, resulting in the loss of Mexican jobs, bankruptcies, and the tarnishing of Mexico's image.
Salinas's reputation was to be further clouded by a series of controversies involving close family members. His brother Raúl had been arrested in February 1995. In November 1995, Raúl's wife, Paulina Castañón, and his brother-in-law, Antonio Castañón, were arrested in Geneva, Switzerland, after attempting to withdraw US$84 million from an account owned by Raúl Salinas under an alias. Their capture led to the unveiling of a vast fortune spread around the world and amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars, even though Raúl Salinas had never officially received an annual income of more than $190,000. A report by the U.S. General Accounting Office indicated that Raúl Salinas had transferred over $90 million out of Mexico into private bank accounts in London and Switzerland through a complex set of transactions between 1992 and 1994. In 2008, the government of Switzerland turned over $74 million, out of the $110 million in frozen bank accounts held by Raúl Salinas, to the government of Mexico. The Swiss Justice Ministry indicated that the Mexican government had demonstrated that $66 million of the funds had been misappropriated, and the funds, with interest, were returned to Mexico. The Salinas family would not receive back any of the frozen funds.
Salinas divorced his first wife, Cecilia Occelli González, in 1995 soon after leaving office. That same year he married his second wife, Ana Paula Gerard.
In 1997, while Salinas was in exile and his brother Raúl in jail, their father, Raúl Salinas Lozano was accused in a U.S court of being connected to drug dealing by a convicted Mexican trafficker, Magdalena Ruiz Pelayo; the senior Salinas denied the charges.
In January 1999, after a four-year trial, Salinas' older brother Raúl was convicted of ordering the murder of the PRI official (and Salinas' brother-in-law) José Francisco Ruiz Massieu and sentenced to 50 years in prison. In July 1999, an appeals court cut the sentence to 27 1/2 years. In June 2005, the conviction was overturned, and Raúl Salinas was freed.
On December 6, 2004, Salinas's youngest brother, Enrique, was found dead in Huixquilucan, Estado de México, inside his car with a plastic bag strapped around his head. The case remains unsolved.
During a television interview in September 2005, Miguel de la Madrid acknowledged that the PRI lost the 1988 elections. However, he immediately clarified his comment by saying that the PRI had "at least lost a significant amount of voters". Asked for comment on De la Madrid's statements, Senator Manuel Bartlett, who was the president of the Federal Electoral Commission (Comisión Federal Electoral) during the De la Madrid administration, declared Salinas won the election albeit with the smallest margin of any PRI candidate before him. He attributed De la Madrid's remarks to his old age (71 years old as of 2005) and the remarks being taken out of context by journalist Carlos Loret de Mola. Ex-president Miguel de la Madrid admitted that the elections had been rigged.
Salinas de Gortari remains a highly controversial figure in Mexican history. In a 2005 national survey conducted by Parametría, 73% of the respondents had a negative image of Salinas de Gortari, 9% had a positive opinion, and 18% had no opinion about him.
In another national survey conducted in 2012 by BGC-Excelsior about former Presidents, Salinas de Gortari by far received the worst rating: 20% of the respondents considered that his administration was "very good" or "good", 13% of the responded considered that it was an "average" administration, and 66% of the respondents considering that it was a "bad" or "very bad" administration.
Salinas returned to Mexico in the late 1990s and has continued to influence Mexican politics since then. In April 2018, he celebrated his 70th birthday with a party attended by a number of political elites. On 5 December 2018, he attended George H. W. Bush's funeral.
Currently, Carlos Salinas de Gortari is 74 years, 8 months and 0 days old. Carlos Salinas de Gortari will celebrate 75th birthday on a Monday 3rd of April 2023.
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